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Social capital, religion and small business activity

Steven C. Deller, Tessa Conroy and Bjorn Markeson

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2018, vol. 155, issue C, 365-381

Abstract: Within the theoretical framework of social capital, we explore how different religious traditions influence small business activity in U.S. counties. We motivate the analysis by emphasizing the ways in which religious organizations may facilitate social capital, a key factor in business formation and performance. We find that communities with a large concentration of religious congregations have a correspondingly higher level of small business activity. We also find important differences across religious traditions, suggesting that religion should not be treated as a monolithic dimension of social capital. In addition, by exploring different traditions, beliefs, and norms, proxied by religion, finer insights into social capital and community economic development can be gained.

Date: 2018
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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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